It’s that time of year again, when families start gearing up for a new academic year by shopping for new school clothes, shoes, supplies and backpacks.
Just in time for those back-to-school purchases, Florida is having its sales tax holiday.
This time – for the first time – personal computers and accessories, valued up to $750, are also exempt from sales taxes during the sales tax holiday, which begins at 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 2 and goes through 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 4.
Retailers are staffing up as families take advantage of tax savings and markdowns, Rick McAllister, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation, said in a news release.
Retailers expect the introduction of the computer sales exemption to give the popular tax holiday a significant boost, McAllister said.
Clothing items and shoes priced at up to $75 are exempt, and so are school supply items, sold at no more than $15.
McAllister thinks the new computer exemption will drive purchases.
“Most families in Florida own a computer of one type or another, and we expect that many will take advantage of the tax savings to purchase computers for their kids or upgrade their own,” McAllister said. “And you’ll see great deals on clothes, shoes and school supplies. It’s a winning proposition for Florida’s families and for our retailers, because we’ll see a good boost in commerce over the weekend.
“Stores are actively competing with each other for customers, and that usually means plenty of markdowns to attract shoppers,” he added.
Retailers in Florida are expected to boost staffing by about 20 percent during the tax holiday weekend to accommodate shoppers. In general, retailers expect an average increase of between 30 and 40 percent in store traffic over the weekend because of the sales tax holiday, McAllister said.
A National Retail Federation survey predicts that families with school-aged children will spend an average of $634.78 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics in 2013, down from $688.62 last year.
McAllister noted, however, that “because of the tax holiday, retail stores generally perform a little better in Florida than in states without a sales tax holiday.”
The Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel historically sees more shoppers at its stores during August because of back-to-school sales and an uptick in activity during the sales tax holiday, said Debbie Detweiler, director of marketing.
It’s also a fun time, Detweiler said. “We enjoy seeing parents shopping with their kids for back-to-school.”
For more details on items that are exempt under the tax-free holiday, go to the Florida Department of Revenue’s website at http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/ and click on “Sales Tax Holiday, Aug. 2-4, 2013.”